Related Reviews
BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
Recording of the Month: 'Soprano Elizabeth Watts gets to the heart of Mozart in a sparkling recording of arias and overtures, performed with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Christian Baldini.'
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'I almost passed this by, thinking that I didn't need another collection of Mozart arias and overtures: I was very wrong...it's the quality of the singing that ultimately persuaded me to make this a Recording of the Month.'
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Gramophone
'The track that moved me most of all was the exquisite minuet song in which Servilia pleads to Vitellia to confess her guilt to the Emperor Titus – [Watts] vindicates [her broad tempo] with the mingled grace and unexaggerated fervour of her singing, the orchestra swelling and ebbing in delicate sympathy.'
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The Observer
4 Stars
'a thrilling compilation'
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BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review’
‘Soprano Elizabeth Watts in radiant form in arias across a half-dozen Mozart operas, each preceded by its overture from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Christian Baldini in the semi- historically informed mode familiar from the orchestra’s Mozart symphony recordings with Sir Charles Mackerras. In fact I think this makes a lovely adjunct to those recordings. Beautifully recorded as well.’
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Sinfini Music
4 Stars
'Thrilling playing from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra make this an essential disc in a crowded market, says Alexandra Coghlan, who enjoys this whistle-stop tour around Mozart's operas.'
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SA-CD.net
5 Stars
'Wherever you dip into this disc you will find singing of great character, freshness and refinement that marks out all of Elizabeth Watts' performances, making this a disc to return to often with much pleasure. Highly recommended.'
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The Sunday Times
'Watts is a rising British talent in this repertoire.'
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SA-CD.net
'A lovely recording...'
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Pizzicato
,,Elizabeth Watts...hat sich zu einer guten Mozart-Interpretin entwickelt. Ihre warme Stimme eignet sich bestens für die Susanna-Arie aus den ‘Nozze di Figaro’, und sie entwickelt dramatische Kraft und hoch geputschte Emotionalität in der Ilia-Arie aus ‘Idomeneo’.''
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McAlister Matheson Music
'I find something fresh in these seductive performances each time I hear them. This is another winner for Linn and the SCO.'
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AllMusic
4½ Stars
'[Watt's] bright and flexible voice is wonderful in Mozart...This disc invites repeated listening and is highly recommended.'
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Classic FM
Album of the Week: 'A really original idea.'
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Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Mozart: Opera Arias & Overtures - Classical Candor


01 July 2015
Classical Candor
John J. Puccio

As we have come to expect from Linn Records, every new release is a welcome pleasure. This album of Mozart arias and overtures is no exception, especially as the performers do so well and the recording sounds so good.

However, most recordings these days seem to need something beyond good performances and good sound, so the added attraction here is the choice of material. Not content with merely providing an arbitrary selection of Mozart arias and overtures, Maestro Christian Baldini, soprano Elizabeth Watts, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra have chosen to give us one or two arias and the overture from each of six Mozart operas. Thus, the program gives us a better idea of the flavor of the operas represented than just some random assortment of things.

There is plenty of zest, spunk, in Maestro Baldini's overture readings, although I'm not he captures all of Mozart's charm or drama along the way. Things seem to zip along merrily enough yet without quite the expansiveness that might have made the music even more delightful (or in the case of Don Giovanni, more melodramatic). Moreover, Baldini appears to get quicker as he moves from one overture to the next, the final selections a touch more taxing than they are exuberant. Still, these are quite exciting interpretations, and one cannot deny the conductor's energy and enthusiasm.

On the other hand, Baldini and soprano Elizabeth Watts handle the arias exquisitely. Ms. Watts possesses a fine, expressive voice, and she isn't shy about using it to its fullest extent, from softest and gentlest to loudest and most-explosive expressions.

I also loved the precision and poise of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, who never fail to impress me with their devotion to the music. They appear to respond to conductor Baldini's every direction.

Producer and recording engineer Philip Hobbs made the album at Usher Hall, Edinburgh, UK in June 2013. He recorded it for hybrid SACD playback, meaning that if you own an SACD player, you can listen either in SACD multichannel or SACD two-channel, and if you have a regular CD player, you can listen in standard two-channel stereo. I listened in two-channel SACD stereo using a Sony SACD player.

There is a good sense of depth to the sound, noticeable from the opening bell. There's also a strong dynamic range and punch to the music, which lend to the album's overall lifelike quality. But you knew that going in, given that it's a Linn recording. The midrange sounds nicely detailed without being bright or hard; the highs show a reasonable sparkle; and the lows are commendably solid. A small degree of hall ambience adds to the illusion of reality.



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Christian BaldiniChristian Baldini
Elizabeth WattsElizabeth Watts
Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Mozart: Opera Arias and OverturesMozart: Opera Arias and Overtures